Indie game designer earns raves for ‘Braid’

Jonathan Blow spent three years and $180,000 making a masterpiece

Image: Braid

The ebb and flow of time gets puzzling treatment in "Braid," a masterful new game created by a provocative game designer.

One of the highest-rated Xbox 360 games of all times isn’t some shooting game from some fancy-pants company that makes games by dipping programming code in giant vats filled with hundred dollar bills. And it’s not some action game that tap dances across your TV screen showing off its high-def graphics like some supermodel showing off her expensive new dress.

No, one of the highest-rated Xbox games of all time – the one sitting there at No. 8, just below “Call of Duty 4” and just above “Guitar Hero II” on the Metacritic charts – is a little downloadable thing decorated in watercolor artwork and steeped in old-school gameplay and basically created by one guy with a punk rock attitude and, if I had to guess, a brain approaching the size of the sun.

Game designer Jonathan Blow – a man with a reputation for speaking his mind whether other people like it or not – spent three years and more than $180,000 of his own money crafting “Braid.” Available for download through Xbox Live Arcade, “Braid” artfully blends old-school 2-D platforming with brain-tweaking puzzle gaming to create a sublime package that plays with the rules of time, plays with expectations, and just generally plays with your mind in a way that has left critics drooling all over themselves with praise.

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